The idea of going on a 12 days road trip in Europe sounded very adventurous and exciting when we're planning it 5 months ago.Unfortunately, a bad experience at one of its older restaurant (C. Leon in Brussels) sets off a series of bad services for the rest of our European trip. Their wait persons' attitude were pretty much do as we said or no service at all. It's either you order our set menus or certain amount of dishes, otherwise don't eat here. This kind of attitude was particularly obvious in Brussels and Luxembourg City. By the third day in Europe, my children had come to expect bad services at the restaurants that we ate.
Since we were short on time, we ate when and where it was convenient. Half of the time we ended up in a restaurant in the tourists spots. I know restaurants in these touristy areas should be avoided but, due to jet lag, new in town and time constraint, we just had to make do with the choices that we had.
Most of the time we were not greeted by the wait staff. We're not talking about packed busy restaurants here. If we asked them if we could seat ourselves, they'd shrug their shoulders with their long faces and gave us the "whatever, don't bother me" look. After we seat ourselves, sometimes the menus were on the table. If not, good luck waving down the wait persons to bring the menus or take down our orders which was the case with the Hotel F. Cafe in Luxembourg City. We had to walk out of that restaurant after having sat there for 20 minutes being ignored by the wait persons. At first we thought maybe it's the language barrier since we don't speak their language. But, that's not the case as we found out later they do speak good English and understood us perfectly.
Having been a waitress myself for 4 years, I know what courteous service should be. It's frustrating to spend money and get arrogant services with mediocre food. They know we're travelling and most likely we will not frequent their restaurants again. But, still there should be a certain amount of courtesy extended to people visiting your countries. Of all the places we've visited around the world, its the people that made our travelling experiences memorable and made us want to go back again. It didn't matter how beautiful their cities were if common courtesy wasn't in place. Too bad, really.